From a pool of about 50 candidates, Rene Santiago was named new principal of Wood Dale Junior High School.
Santiago started in his new role immediately after being hired last week and replaces Tony Murray, who stepped down in mid-May to take a position at a school in Park Ridge.
An educator for 20 years, Santiago spent the past eight years as principal of Beach Park Middle School. Prior to that, he served as assistant principal at schools in Highland Park and North Chicago. He has teaching experience at both the elementary and junior high levels, and has also served as a bilingual program coordinator.
Wood Dale Elementary District 7 officials narrowed their pool of roughly 50 candidates for the post down to a dozen, then to about five finalists before choosing Santiago. Superintendent John Corbett said he stood out because of his experience in several areas.
"He had proved leadership at Beach Park, a school with similar demographics, and he had a lot of experience with many things we work with such as the Common Core," Corbett said.
Common Core State Standards, were adopted by 45 states including Illinois, and focuses on making students college- and career-ready by the time they graduate high school.
"He also had a proven record of making good relationships with students, families and staff, which is something we value," Corbett added
Santiago earned his undergraduate degree in education from Carthage College, his master's in administrative leadership from National-Louis University, and is completing work on his doctorate administration and leadership from Loyola University.
In a letter to parents and students this month, Santiago said, "I believe my teaching experiences have given me a well rounded perspective of the developmental stages of children. Coupled with my administrative experiences, I feel I am prepared to serve District 7 and the Wood Dale families."